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This review is from: The Hour - Complete Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
This is a classic series showing how critical journalism took off within the BBC. The interesting question is "Why now?" Series 1 centres around the formation of a News team in 1956 and examines how they MIGHT have dealt with the Suez crisis against the backdrop of the Cold War and the "Reds under the bed" paranoia. The casting is nothing short of perfect and it would be invidious to single out any of them since the characters are so strongly written (the sublime Abi Morgan). Each character is so four-dimensional that the drama has attracted the cream of British acting; for me personally, it is Anton Lesser who is "the still point in [their] turning world" but it is next to impossible to separate out Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, Romola Garai, Juliet Stevenson, Tim Piggot-Smith and Julian Rhind-Tutt for individual praise - it is SUCH an ensemble piece.
So, "Why now?" Has investigative journalism within the BBC lost its credibility? Have resources been siphoned off into less contentious areas of investigation? Has the BBC become constrained by its association with Government and the licence fee? How DID Abi Morgan manage to persuade "THEM" to give her the go-ahead? Perhaps we should be asking Tim Whewell, Paul Mason - even the sainted Jeremy Paxman! (By the way, does anyone remember James Cameron???)
As for Series 2, what a disappointment. The cast and the ensemble playing are still first-class but the story of louche goings-on in the seedy underworld of Soho and the 'team-turned-detectives' is so off target that one can only conclude that the point has already been made in Series 1.